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Uncover Northeast Tennessee’s Top Visitor Attractions

When visiting beautiful Northeast Tennessee, there are so many attractions and things to do in the Tri-Cities! From events and live music to fun nights out and quirky museums, there are activities for everyone, in every season.

Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway

You simply cannot come to Bristol, Tennessee, and not visit The Last Great Colosseum. Bristol Motor Speedway looks more like a major league baseball stadium than a racetrack at first glance. But once you venture inside, you’ll see the iconic concrete oval where NASCAR greats have raced, wrecked (themselves and each other), and won. The track features high banks and fast speeds – especially for a half-mile oval. Bristol Dragway, one of NHRA’s brightest gems, sits just beyond BMS and is just as popular with drag racing fans as the Speedway is with NASCAR fans. Known as Thunder Valley for the sounds emanating from Top Fuel dragsters as they rocket down the quarter-mile strip that sits between two hills. Before you leave, make sure you snap a photo in front of the “It’s Bristol Baby” sign in front of BMS!

Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Photo Courtesy Of: Birthplaceofcountrymusic.org

Music – that’s what garnered Bristol the most attention back in the 1920s – and there’s an entire museum dedicated to its place in country music history. The museum, which sits in the downtown area, tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, deemed by Johnny Cash as “the single most important event in the history of country music.” The Sessions were where greats like Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family first recorded their music, and you can trace the route of those historic days throughout the museum.

Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium

Photo Courtesy Of: Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

If you like to get into the outdoors, you’ll love stunning Bays Mountain! Located in Kingsport, this 3,750-acre nature preserve is the largest city-owned park in Tennessee. The park features a picturesque 44-acre lake, a Nature Center, and animal habitats featuring wolves, bobcats, raptors, and reptiles. Hiking and biking are popular here, along with barge rides, camping,
fishing, and nature programs. If you want to cool off and tune into in to something spectacular, there’s no better place than the state-of-the-art Planetarium theater, the only one of its kind in the Western hemisphere!

Niswonger Performing Arts Center (NPAC)

Catch a show at one of the most elegant venues in the area. In this exclusive setting, you can tune in to artists from around the globe. NPAC offers a wide variety of musical artists and theatrical performances in one of Tennessee’s most revolutionary towns~ Greeneville. And while you’re there, swing by the City Garage Car Museum. The trip will be well worth it when you see the 1914 Ford Brass T Model and 1981 DeLorean on display!

Tiebreakers

Are you ready for some big-time fun? We love Tiebreakers, where you can enjoy unique games, delicious food, great service, and an environment that is perfect for all ages! One of the area’s hot spots for entertainment, guests can get their game on here or just relax with a good meal and beverage. You can reserve a spot for the ultimate bowling experience – our personal favorite, Hyperbowl, or play one of the more than 100 midway and arcade games. They have everything from air hockey, basketball, racing games, coin pushers, Puttr+, Hologate VR, ax throwing, and more, and you can win plenty of cool prizes right in Johnson City!

Hands On! Discovery Center & Gray Fossil Site

Hands On! Discovery Center is an ultra-cool science center for all ages that offers fun interactive programs and experiences, including:  immersive interactive exhibits, a musical Tesla coil, giant building blocks, a 3-story Paleo Tower, a discovery garden, and an art studio. And if you want, you can engineer a rocket, create a masterpiece, and almost always uncover something new! If history is your jam, the Gray Fossil Site is one of the neatest places you’ll ever visit. Digs are ongoing at the active Pliocene-era fossil site, so you never know what might be discovered!

International Storytelling Center

Jonesborough, the oldest town in Tennessee and “Storytelling Capital of the World,” is home to the tradition of years of storytelling. The International Storytelling Center (ISC) is the only facility in the world devoted exclusively to the power and creativity of storytelling! The ISC aims to inspire and empower people everywhere to capture and tell their stories, listen to others’ stories, and use storytelling to produce positive change. If you’re in the area from May through October, you’re in luck because the center offers live storytelling performances that will keep you riveted to your seat. ISC also hosts the internationally acclaimed National Storytelling Festival every October (this year, it’s happening from the 6th to the 8th ), guaranteed to be one of the most fascinating events you’ll ever attend!

Backyard Terrors Dinosaur Park

Bet you never thought you’d see dinosaurs in Northeast Tennessee… but we’ve definitely got ‘em! The Backyard Terrors Dinosaur Park opened in 2007 in Bluff City after the owner built a Jurassic Park-like raptor that now stands just outside the entrance. He liked it so much – and visitors were stopping by in droves – that he decided to build more. Featuring self-guided tours, the park is currently home to more than 60 prehistoric creatures, including an Apatosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and the most well-known dinosaur of all, the Tyrannosaurus Rex! There are also several fossil exhibits that allow kids to dig around and learn about their findings.

There’s More Up Here!

Check out other nearby attractions and things to do in our neck of the woods!